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Madonna of the Trail
Albuquerque Madonna.jpg
Albuquerque Madonna
Location Marble Ave. and 4th St.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Built September 27, 1928
Architect August Leimbach
Designated March 21, 2006
Reference no. 06000151
Madonna of the Trail California Historical Monument
Madonna of the Trail, Upland, California.JPG
Madonna of the Trail, 1928
Location North Euclid Avenue, Upland, California
Built 1929
Architect August Leimbach
Designated November 7, 1998
Reference no. 1028

Madonna of the Trail is a series of 12 identical monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. The monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). They were installed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road, which extended from Cumberland, Maryland, to Upland, California.

Created by sculptor August Leimbach and funded by contributions, the Madonna of the Trail monuments were intended to provide a symbol of the courage and faith of the women whose strength and love aided so greatly in conquering the wilderness and establishing permanent homes. Dedicated in 1928 and 1929, the twelve statues became sources of local pride. Through the continuing efforts of local and national groups, all are currently in good condition and on display.

History

Truman was scheduled to speak at the unveiling of the Madonna of the Trail statue in Upland, California, in 1929, but he did not attend.

Some Madonna of the Trail monuments have become community landmarks. On June 2nd, 2020, the Upland, California Madonna of the Trail monument was the site of a Black Lives Matter protest in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Design and specifications

Locations

There is one monument in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Highway (much of which later became U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 66). The monuments in order of dedication are:

State Image Location Dedicated Notes
West Virginia MadonnaOfTheTrail Wheeling.jpg Wheeling
40°03′21″N 80°40′09″W / 40.055797°N 80.669215°W / 40.055797; -80.669215 (West Virginia)
July 7, 1928 Contributing structure in the National Road Corridor Historic District
New Mexico Albuquerque Madonna.jpg Albuquerque
35°05′34″N 106°38′59″W / 35.092897°N 106.649820°W / 35.092897; -106.649820 (New Mexico)
September 27, 1928 Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally located in McClellan Park, but was removed in 1996 when the park was demolished to build the Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse. The monument was restored and moved to a new site at the northwest corner of the courthouse grounds, where it was rededicated on September 27, 1998.

Positioning

Due to the positions on the sites, Maryland's Madonna on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda has long been the only one facing east. In December 2004, the statue had to be temporarily removed to repair a foundation problem. An alert reporter for the Washington Post noted that as it was placed on the flatbed truck, the Madonna faced west, believed to be the first time all 12 have done so.

Ohio's Madonna was relocated in 2011 to the new National Road Commons park located in downtown Springfield. The statue is positioned facing south for better visibility on Main Street (Route 40).

Images for kids

California historical marker

Marker in Upland reads:

  • Dedicated in 1929, the Madonna of the Trail is one of twelve identical statues placed in twelve states by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The statues, differentiated by the inscriptions on their bases, commemorate the westward move of American civilization on a series of trails, which eventually linked the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They especially pay tribute to the importance of a national highway and the role of pioneer women. The statue was designed by German-born architectural sculptor August Leimbach and inspired by a statue of Sacagawea in Portland, Oregon. The Upland monument is said to represent four historic trails: the Mojave Trail, the de Anza Trail, the Emigrant Trail, and the Canyon Road.
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